Microsoft today revealed the Surface Laptop Studio, a successor to the Surface Book line of powerful laptops. It features a complete redesign of Microsoft’s flagship laptop, including the removal of the removable display in favor of one that slides forward to convert from laptop to tablet mode (or what Microsoft calls studio mode).
Microsoft’s vice president of devices, Pete Kyriacou, states, “Surface Laptop Studio is the most powerful Surface we’ve ever produced.” “It is the culmination of years of Surface innovation – on hinges, display, silicon, and more – and brings the best of the Surface history together in one powerhouse device,” says Microsoft.
The display and hinge are the most noticeable and instant changes to this Surface Book replacement. The 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow display supports up to 120Hz and Dolby Vision (2400 x 1600). The laptop has a novel flexible Dynamic Woven Hinge, which Microsoft claims is robust and allows it to shift between modes similarly to the bigger Surface Studio. There are three modes available on the Surface Laptop Studio: laptop, stage, and studio.
The laptop mode sets up the display to look like a conventional laptop, complete with a full keyboard and a new haptic touchpad. Things become interesting in stage mode when you can move the display forward at an angle that’s ideal for gaming, streaming, or presenting. This will hide the keyboard, and the angle is better for watching Netflix or playing games, touching the screen, or digital inking with the new Surface Slim Pen 2.
The studio is Microsoft’s final mode, and it’s ideal for writing, sketching, and anything else creative, as the name implies. The Surface Laptop Studio isn’t exactly light, weighing in at nearly four pounds and measuring 0.7 inches thick, so Microsoft is wary about labeling this “tablet mode.”
I’ve never removed the Surface Book display while using it, so I think this new Laptop Studio design does a good job of keeping the primary focus on laptop modes but also providing some flexibility for inking fans. It appears to me to be a more elegant variant of Acer’s Ezel laptop line.
Unlike the Surface Book, Microsoft has relocated the majority of the Surface Laptop Studio’s components to the base. This will increase the laptop’s durability, but it will also drain any heat into your lap. The Surface Slim Pen 2, which is unexpectedly offered separately, is likewise neatly housed in the base.
The Surface Laptop Studio may be powered by Intel’s quad-core 11th Gen Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs. Core i5 machines will have Intel Iris Xe graphics, while Core i7 variants will incorporate Nvidia’s RTX 3050 Ti GPU with 4GB of VRAM. There will be 16GB and 32GB RAM choices, as well as up to 2TB of external SSD storage.
With these characteristics, the Surface Laptop Studio is more than capable of running the most recent PC games. Microsoft has generally avoided marketing the Surface Book as a full-fledged gaming laptop, but with the Surface Laptop Studio, the company embraces the concept.
Microsoft is upgrading the Surface Laptop Studio to Thunderbolt 4, just like the Surface Pro 8. Two USB 4 ports with Thunderbolt 4 will be available, as well as the Surface Connect charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack. Because the Surface Laptop Studio has Thunderbolt support, you can connect it to multiple 4K screens, use high-speed external storage, and even use an external GPU enclosure to turn it into a full gaming PC.
Microsoft is already taking preorders for the Surface Laptop Studio, which will begin shipping on October 5th for $1,599.99.